Ya Yas in France: Mon Week End A Rennes Avec Alex

December 19, 2009

Last weekend was the weekend before finals, but it was my last chance to see Alex before she goes to Africa (barring the slight chance we meet up during her Paris layover on her way to Cameroon), and given the choice between adequate studying and time with one of my best friends in the world, I chose the latter. Grades are on paper, friendship is in the heart-much more important! So I spent a weekend with Alex, her lovely host family, and her fantastic friends in the beautiful city of Rennes in the north of France.

Meeting Alex at the train station was fabulous-it’s funny how used to people you get after being friends for so long-I can recognize her from just the back of her head, with her body almost entirely obscured by a giant pillar! I was fortunate enough to see Rennes in the sunshine, which Alex says I must have brought with me. I don’t know where I brought it from though, since there certainly wasn’t any when I left Paris! We spent the afternoon catching up on months of important friend things, and then we had the first of my many unbelievable meals last weekend! Alex’s host mother made galettes, which are very similar to crepes, which were filled with egg, ham, and cheese. They were homemade, and absolutely fantastic! I also had a glass of cider, which along with the galettes is a Breton specialty! I was more than happy after the meal, but the night continued to get even better when we went out with Alex’s friends!

Alex of course has many friends from the program, and several French friends from outside of it as well. We met up with some of her friends who are from Cameroon by origin, and with some of the other students from Alex’s program we had a dance party in the apartment of one of the boys! We danced and danced and laughed and laughed, it was so much fun, and her friends could really dance! We left the apartment and then went to a bar, where we danced even more, before finally going home to bed!

The evening was fantastic, but I have to say that my greatest success was taking a photograph of one of the young Frenchmen at the party. I am so proud of this picture, which is the most French photograph that I will ever take. Everything was perfect-he wasn’t posing, he was French handsome and skinny with very French hair, he was dressed like a Frenchman, and what could possibly be more French than sitting on the windowsill of an apartment to smoke a cigarette during a fête? The answer is nothing.

French.

On Saturday Alex and I slept in late, and we woke up just in time for an absolutely incredible lunch! We had yet another Breton specialty-fresh, never frozen langoustines, which are basically giant shrimp! Yay for being close to the sea! The meal was so fabulous that I just had to take a picture of the table-you’re allowed to be jealous! (oh, and of course we ate them with-what else-homemade mayonnaise!)

For the rest of the day we just ran around taking in more of Rennes. We saw the usual market (which is ENORMOUS!) and then all of the different Christmas markets! Alex and I both love taking pictures, so I brought my little camera and Alex took her big one and we tried to experience the city artistically! We had so much fun, and I actually really like some of my pictures. I like how taking pictures forces you to pay attention and seek out different angles and viewpoints, and I am always drawn to colors!

The market-the colors were too lovely!

Partial view of a church's facade

A little girl (who had a black eye!) blowing glass at the "Fire Arts" market (glass and ceramics)

Two adorable little boys chasing birds in the park

Parakeets! (love birds? not sure which)

Alex and I met up with some of her girlfriends later, and we had a fabulous dinner at an Italian restaurant in town. We were also fortunate enough to witness a gorgeous sunset through the city’s Christmas light display.

Sunday was my last day, but what a day! Alex’s host parents took us to Saint-Malo on the coast, and on the way we stopped at Cancale for oysters, which is where I got them with my family and the Nicolls the last time we were in France!!! It was much too cold to eat them on the beach, so we bought them to go, but I still got a picture of Alex and I looking very chilly!

Once we got to her host family’s weekend apartment in Saint-Malo Alex and I explored the beach! The cold was absolutely numbing, but the sky and the water were both the most deceptive shades of blue!

You would never think "cold" while looking at this photograph!

We came back to yet another unbelievable meal. I didn’t take a picture of the homemade Coq au Vin, but I did take one of the oysters! Oh, and yes, they were fantastic-Alex’s host mother really spoiled me, (and Alex too, since it was her last weekend with them).

I am sorry to be torturing all of you with the food descriptions/pictures!

We all four went into the town itself after lunch, and Alex’s host father explained some of the city’s very interesting history while we walked around the outer wall (the entire city was walled at one point). After all of the walking we warmed up with hot chocolate in a café with a ridiculously long name, (Le Cqfé du coin d’en bas du bout d’en face) that is famous for that and the interior, which is completely covered in 3 generations worth of dolls collected from all over the world!

Walking on the ramparts

Alex taking a photograph of her host parents

The inside of the cafe!

I was so sad to leave. Alex’s host parents were so hospitable, the food was incredible, and Alex just reminded me all over again why we’ve been friends for more than 6 years, and why she’ll continue to be one of my best friends for the rest of my life. That alone is reason enough for the weekend taking place, even when I should have been studying.

As a final note, I feel like I’ve let everyone down since I didn’t write last week, even though I actually didn’t have time with my finals. But, to make up for it, I will write a short blurb about my fantastic night at the ballet (which was tonight-so lovely!) sometime tomorrow or Sunday! A bientôt!

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